Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Advancing Tobacco Prevention and Control in Rural America

Jean Talbot and Martha Elbaum Williamson presented a draft report, "Advancing Tobacco Control and Prevention in Rural America", to a 15-member advisory group in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 2018. The National Network of Public Health Institutes and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the project. The project team, representing the Maine Public Health Institute at the Cutler Institute, included Jean Talbot, Martha Elbaum Williamson, Donna Reed, Karen Pearson, Jennifer Lenardson, Frances Jimenez, Nathan Paluso, Louisa Munk, and Erika Ziller. 

Rural communities continue to bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related health harms, even while the United States has achieved major successes in tobacco prevention and control. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in comparison to their urban counterparts, rural residents showed higher rates of mortality due to four tobacco-related causes of death—cancer, stroke, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease. These findings underscore the fact that, even as rural America faces other pressing public health problems such as the ongoing opioid crisis, rural tobacco control efforts continue to warrant attention and resources.

The May 16 presentation featured the draft report, “Advancing Tobacco Prevention and Control in Rural America,” including results from a rapid, scoping review of the literature on rural tobacco control and prevention. The report describes aspects of the rural context that may have implications for tobacco control efforts; provides an overview of rural tobacco control activities over the past ten years, highlighting the many achievements of rural communities; and uses these findings as the basis for research recommendations in a call to action.

A link to the final report will be provided in a future issue of the Insider.